Half Life is a book I’ve been looking forward to ever since it was announced. I’ve been a major fan of Clark’s since Immoral Code and couldn’t wait for her next book. And it was everything I wanted and more! Don’t you love that feeling? Keep reading my book review to see what I loved about Half Life!
An overachiever enrolls in an experimental clone study to prove that two (of her own) heads are better than one in this fast-paced, near-future adventure that’s Black Mirror meets Becky Albertalli.
There aren’t enough hours in the day for Lucille–perfectionist, overachiever–to do everything she has to do, and there certainly aren’t enough hours to hang out with friends, fall in love, get in trouble–all the teenage things she knows she should want to be doing instead of preparing for a flawless future. So when she sees an ad for Life2: Do more. Be more, she’s intrigued.
The company is looking for beta testers to enroll in an experimental clone program, and in the aftermath of a series of disappointments, Lucille is feeling reckless enough to jump in. At first, it’s perfect: her clone, Lucy, is exactly what she needed to make her life manageable and have time for a social life. But it doesn’t take long for Lucy to become more Lucy and less Lucille, and Lucille is forced to stop looking at Lucy as a reflection and start seeing her as a window–a glimpse at someone else living her own life, but better. Lucy does what she really wants to, not what she thinks she should want to, and Lucille is left wondering how much she was even a part of the perfect life she’d constructed for herself. Lucille wanted Lucy to help her relationships with everyone else, but how can she do that without first rectifying her relationship with herself?
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Half Life is all sorts of fun. Full of characters that you can instantly love, Lucille felt a little too close to home – all you overachievers will rejoice! At the same time, Half Life asks important questions about ethics and doing what’s right. Presenting the ethics of cloning, the bonds of family, and asking what makes up the essence of ourselves, it is thoughtful. I definitely got all the Black Mirror vibes, but also Living With Yourself vibes too – which may be a more spot on premise comparison.
Half Life is also a story about friendship and family. It’s one of those books where the premise instantly hooked me, and then what unfolded was even better. Wrapped up in this contemporary setting are questions about the future and ethics. What rights do our clones have? Are we responsible for their actions? How much of us do they have? Presenting these conflicts, Half Life feels insightful without being heavy handed. Another large theme in the book is the nature of truth. If enough people keep saying something, does that make it true?
All at the same time, it’s incredibly endearing. It takes this basic feeling of not being enough, achieving enough, measuring enough, and just expands it. Asking us what we would do in Lucille’s place if we had the option of having a clone. I mean, who hasn’t thought of that same question? Lucille felt almost like a mirror of myself. Feeling like she’s just barely succeeding and that people’s expectations of her raise what she needs to succeed even higher. I think that’s what makes Lucille so endearing, because even if we aren’t as school focused as Lucille, we all feel varying shades of failure. Of not being enough, or measuring up to expectations.
Half Life has endearing characters with fabulous narrative voice. Considering that in the novel we have both Lucy and Lucille, I never lost track of who each of them were. And I think that boils down to what I loved about Clark’s characters. They have such a personality and life to them – even as clones! On one hand we see all these differences between them, their memories, and what they might do, but on the other hand so many pieces of themselves feel similar. Their two lives and loves collapsing and colliding.
It’s about the way our lives can diverge if we let them go a little, releasing some of our control. In many ways, Half Life is a book about radical self-acceptance. Beginning with detailed characters, it delivers suspense and action towards the end. Lucille and Lucy struggle to define who they are, to make an active choice about who they want to be.
About the Author
Lillian Clark, a graduate of the University of Wyoming, grew up riding horses, climbing trees, and going on grand imaginary adventures in the small-town West. She’s worked as a lifeguard, a camp counselor, and a Zamboni driver, but found her eternal love working as a bookseller at an independent bookstore. Now living in Teton Valley, Idaho with her husband, son, and two giant dogs, she spends her time reading almost anything and writing books for teens.
Prize: Win a copy of HALF LIFE and IMMORAL CODE by Lillian Clark (US Only)
Starts: 9th June 2020
Ends: 23rd June 2020a Rafflecopter giveaway
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